The singer has a new 12-song LP, “El Radio,” out this week.
Seattle-based crooner Vince Mira’s new 12-song LP, “El Radio,” often feels more like an intersectional collage than a modern pop release.
The LP features a rich blend of different languages, musical eras and moments from Mira’s own family life. Mira will celebrate “El Radio’s” Friday, June 16, release with a show July 28 at Fred Wildlife Refuge. (The album is available on most streaming services.)
Mira, whose big, booming voice has been compared to Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash, says the record was inspired first and foremost by bolero, a restrained, slow-tempo style of Latin music that Mira’s family exposed him to growing up.
“My brothers and sisters and my parents were all really big into music,” says Mira, one of seven kids. “I owe a lot to them. I wanted this album to sound like those bolero songs, but I also wanted to bring my own flare to it. ”
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That flare is born out of an amalgamation of music — from Bob Dylan to dance. The songs on “El Radio,” some of which were written a decade apart, adhere to a charming, yet at times heart-wrenching tone, and the instruments on the album range from a singled-out weeping trumpet to a staccato, programmed drum track.
“It’s been a long process,” says Mira, who was first discovered while busking at Pike Place Market as a teenager. “We started off just recording demos and keeping those on file for years, coming back to them, working on them and putting them away again.”
But while the crafting of the music required so much time and care, Mira’s manner of singing and how he performs do not fit into any particular lineage or overwrought business plan. “I just go out and sing,” the troubadour says. And when he does, he’s almost overtaken by a side of himself that doesn’t otherwise come out.
“When I perform, I kind of tap into something different,” he says. “Musician Vince is very different from myself at home. I get into this different persona.”
Mira recalls a Dylan interview he’d read where the bard talks about constant change. “He wore all these masks and costumes through the stages of his career,” Mira says. “It was something he had to do to keep evolving and moving forward. That’s something I always like to think of — never arrive anywhere, always keep changing.”
“El Radio” recalls cinematic swells and imagery: cowboy boots planting in a dusty pathway, spurs jangling. Many of the songs would fit seamlessly in a Quentin Tarantino film. Mira, who says he’s probably watched “a million” movies, says that when he writes, he often thinks of characters dealing with loss, remorse — almost as if he’s crafting his own screenplay. “The playlist on my phone has 50 or more soundtracks,” he says. “Movies and film have been a huge part of my life.”
The well-worked range and success of the album can be summed up by two of its standout tracks — the timeless and catchy single “True Love” and the moaning, heart-aching “Una Vez,” which are placed back-to-back in the middle of the LP. “I like the idea of having an album that’s a mix of many influences,” Mira says. “I always liked a record where the songs are totally different from one another.”
And yet, while “El Radio” is a rich collection of music, Mira says he also likes to think of it as one big complete movement. “I like to think of it as one whole song,” he says of the album. “Whether in Spanish or in English, the album is all kind of in sync together.”